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  • Writer's pictureAmy Slater

Navigating Perimenopause: The Role of Exercise in Hormonal Well-Being


Perimenopause, the transitional phase leading up to menopause, is a significant period of change for women. Hormonal fluctuations during this time can result in a myriad of symptoms, ranging from hot flashes and mood swings to sleep disturbances and weight gain. Amidst these changes, regular exercise emerges as a powerful tool for managing symptoms and promoting overall well-being. In this article, we explore the relationship between perimenopause and exercise, highlighting its benefits and offering practical tips for incorporating physical activity into a healthy lifestyle during this transitional phase. One of THE most powerful mantras I would like for you to adopt like RIGHT NOW....


We DO NOT exercise to be skinny, we exercise to be strong! It will serve you very well to have a little more curve and A LOT more muscle during this stage in life than it will to chip away at bone and cartilage with caloric restriction!

This season of perimenopause is also one of the busiest times in our lives where we are deep in household responsibility. Which is why alongside perimenopause and exercise, I want to drop this information....






YES! We can utilize chores as an adjunct to our regularly scheduled programming to BOOST the 1/2 life of exercise, reduce cortisol and add more movement into our day! Tuck that away and let's get a little background on perimenopause first before we jump back into exercise.


Understanding Perimenopause

Perimenopause typically begins in a woman's 40s, although it can start earlier or later for some individuals. During this phase, the ovaries gradually produce less estrogen, leading to irregular menstrual cycles and eventually culminating in menopause, marked by the cessation of menstruation for 12 consecutive months.


Common Symptoms of Perimenopause


The hormonal shifts that occur during perimenopause can trigger a variety of physical and emotional symptoms, including:

  1. Hot flashes and night sweats

  2. Mood swings and irritability

  3. Fatigue and sleep disturbances

  4. Changes in libido

  5. Weight gain and changes in body composition

  6. Joint pain and muscle stiffness

  7. Cognitive changes, such as forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating


Exercise as a Therapeutic Intervention

Regular exercise offers numerous benefits for women navigating perimenopause. From alleviating bothersome symptoms to reducing the risk of chronic diseases associated with aging, physical activity plays a crucial role in promoting overall health and well-being during this transitional phase.


  1. Hormonal Balance: Exercise has been shown to modulate hormone levels, including estrogen and progesterone, which can help alleviate symptoms such as hot flashes and mood swings. Additionally, physical activity stimulates the release of endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of well-being and reduce stress

  2. Weight Management: As metabolism slows down and hormonal fluctuations occur, many women experience weight gain during perimenopause. Regular exercise, particularly a combination of cardiovascular and strength training activities, can help maintain a healthy weight, preserve lean muscle mass, and boost metabolism.

  3. Bone Health: Declining estrogen levels during perimenopause increase the risk of osteoporosis, a condition characterized by decreased bone density and increased susceptibility to fractures. Weight-bearing exercises, such as walking, jogging, and resistance training, help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of osteoporosis.

  4. Cardiovascular Health: Estrogen plays a protective role in cardiovascular health, and its decline during perimenopause may increase the risk of heart disease. Engaging in regular aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, helps maintain a healthy heart and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

  5. Mood and Mental Health: Exercise has profound effects on mood and mental well-being, making it a valuable tool for managing symptoms of anxiety, depression, and mood swings during perimenopause. Physical activity releases endorphins, neurotransmitters that promote feelings of happiness and relaxation, while also reducing levels of stress hormones such as cortisol.

OK! Awesome! Now we have the bare bones, super simplified WHY! Now, let's jump into some more benchmarks for you to hit!





If you are like millions of other Americans you may not be hitting these numbers on a consistent basis which is what is needed to stave off the effects of perimenopause and all cause mortality. Maybe you only have 30 minutes each morning to get your strength training in. That leaves you with no time to get any form of cardiovascular training.





Hang tight, I have 11 additional strategies that piggyback chores and a small bout of exercise into your world. This may be all the minutes you have during this time in life, but it will not be forever! I encourage you to find the little moments and stay consistent because there will be a season of life where you have more time and more flexibility! When that time comes, you want to have the strong foundation you need!






Practical Tips for Exercising During Perimenopause:

  1. Find activities you enjoy: Whether it's dancing, hiking, yoga, or swimming, choose activities that bring you joy and make exercise a pleasurable part of your daily routine.

  2. Prioritize consistency over intensity: Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity activity per week, spread out over several days.

  3. Incorporate strength training: Include resistance exercises using weights, resistance bands, or bodyweight exercises to maintain muscle mass, strength, and bone density.

  4. Listen to your body: Pay attention to how you feel during and after exercise. If you experience discomfort or pain, modify your routine accordingly and consult with a healthcare professional if necessary.

  5. Stay hydrated and fuel your body: Drink plenty of water before, during, and after exercise, and fuel your body with nutritious foods to support energy levels and recovery.




Navigating perimenopause can be challenging, but regular exercise offers a powerful strategy for managing symptoms and promoting overall well-being during this transitional phase. By incorporating a variety of physical activities into your routine and listening to your body's cues, you can harness the transformative power of exercise to navigate perimenopause with resilience and vitality. Remember, it's never too late to embrace an active lifestyle and prioritize your health and well-being at every stage of life.


SOURCES:

Alam, I., Ullah, R., Jan, A., Sehar, B., Khalil, A. A. K., Naqeeb, H., Ali, E. A., Wahab, Q. M. F., Safdar, M., Ali, A., Zaman, M. H., & Zeb, F. (2022). Improvement in cardio-metabolic health and immune signatures in old individuals using daily chores (Salat) as an intervention: A randomized crossover study in a little-studied population. Frontiers in public health, 10, 1009055. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpubh.2022.1009055


Bull, F. C., Al-Ansari, S. S., Biddle, S., Borodulin, K., Buman, M. P., Cardon, G., Carty, C., Chaput, J. P., Chastin, S., Chou, R., Dempsey, P. C., DiPietro, L., Ekelund, U., Firth, J., Friedenreich, C. M., Garcia, L., Gichu, M., Jago, R., Katzmarzyk, P. T., Lambert, E., … Willumsen, J. F. (2020). World Health Organization 2020 guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour. British journal of sports medicine, 54(24), 1451–1462. https://doi.org/10.1136/bjsports-2020-102955

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